The battle between J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones for the starting quarterback position will be the most scrutinized area by both the fans and the media as the Buckeyes prepare for the 2015 college football season. Everyone has an opinion on how it will turn out, but I thought I would go straight to a source who is as well-versed on the subject as anyone.
Stanley Jackson (@Jacksonville8) is a former Ohio State quarterback who knows a thing or two about what it is like to go through a quarterback battle, having experienced it himself with former teammate Joe Germaine during the 1996 and 1997 seasons. Mr. Jackson is an analyst for the Big Ten Network and WTVN 610 radio in Columbus, Ohio. Married with four children, living in Marion, Ohio, Mr. Jackson was kind enough to participate in a telephone interview after a work day at Buckeye State Bank, where he is owner and vice-president. The first part of the interview focuses more upon Mr. Jackson’s career, where part two will focus more upon the impending quarterback battle between J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones.
CM: How does one become the owner of a bank?
SJ: You’ve got to have a lot of money, Chip. (Chuckling) I didn’t play in the NFL, I played in Canada. I made a good living, but nothing that you retire on. To make a long story short, when I moved back to Ohio, I went into banking. I met a few entrepreneurial bankers, they hired me as a business development officer, and I began to learn banking. I went into broadcasting, and we became good friends, and we went out and raised the money to buy a bank. We received the approval from the regulatory committees, and we were able to buy a bank. We were able to purchase the bank on January 2013. We’re not majority shareholders and founders, but the three of us work at the bank also. It’s funny – when you think of banking, you think of a Wells Fargo or Huntington, but the majority of the banks are community banks. All communities that you live in have banks like this, and we just have a small part of that small bank community.
CM: I enjoy all of the media that you do, on The Big Ten Network and WTVN in Columbus, especially with former Ohio State head coach Earle Bruce.
SJ: Thank you, I love it. If I could do it full-time, I would. I get to talk about football, with guys like Earle Bruce. Playing quarterback at Ohio State has created some unique opportunities for me, and the reality is the banking opportunity came about because I was able to go out and raise the capital for it because people want to do business with former Buckeyes. I served on the Ohio state board of education for six months, as Governor Kasich appointed me. Those things are rare to come by, and if you do a good enough job at Ohio State, you can put yourself in some unique opportunities afforded to you in this state.
CM: You mentioned how you just came back from New Jersey with your brother from the quarterback camp you both run. What led you to Ohio State, after your successful high school career at Paterson Catholic? Were there other schools?
SJ: There were. I was looking at other schools, based on their history and the type of offenses they ran. I looked at Syracuse, North Carolina, Kansas all because of Glen Mason. I was pretty heavily recruited by a lot of schools. Luckily for me, my high school coach had played at Ohio State, so he knew some things about it and was able to impart some information to me, and coming to Columbus and seeing the Horseshoe was kind of a game changer. The Carrier Dome was nice, but there’s nothing like the Horseshoe.
CM: You redshirted your freshman year, and you came in with Tom Hoying and Mark Zban in 1993. You all redshirted. Hoying eventually moved to tight end, Zban eventually transferred. You had to sit behind Bob Hoying in 1994 and 1995. What kind of patience was required to get through that, after being so heavily recruited?
SJ: It was very difficult, because I was still a kid. I was eighteen years old. When you are recruited by schools like Ohio State, you are not only the best player for your team, but also from your state. When you arrive at Ohio State, you find out everyone is just like you, if not better. Bigger, faster, stronger – I am no longer king of the roost anymore. You always believe you can play, and it is easy to become disgruntled. Bob Hoying made it easy, helping to mentor me and help me grow my game. Quite frankly, I was a good athlete with a good arm. I had to learn how to become a quarterback, how to watch film, how to break defenses, what to look for, how to have command of the playbook and the huddle. I never had to do that in high school. There was a learning curve that helped. I wanted to play a lot, but I am sure there were guys like Bob or Joe Germaine who felt that way, and I am sure Joe Burrow feels that way right now as he watches Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett work its way out at Ohio State.
CM: How much do you wish you could be playing for Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer with the offense that is in place now?
SJ: It would be great, especially from a numbers standpoint. We went from a heavy run, lots of play action, working the ball into the boundary, to more of a West Coast pro-style offense, lots of slants and shallow crosses. It changed the Ohio State offense forever. Bob Hoying set passing records that now have been dwarfed, based upon the system. A guy like me would have fit well, with the zone read and being able to move the pocket. I sometimes joke with Coach Cooper that we should have been more innovative and running the spread back then. I am more of a traditionalist – if Ohio State is going to run the spread, I like the way Coach Meyer runs it, as a run spread. What Ohio State did in the last three games of the 2014 season, with the way Ezekiel Elliott ran, it allowed the quarterback to have a lot of one on one coverage and that would have been a lot of fun to have played in that type of system.
CM: You mentioned the transition to the West Coast offense, and I saw the BTN special on your 1996 team. What was your relationship like with Walt Harris, who was so instrumental in changing the offense at that time?
SJ: It was a little rocky. Obviously, he didn’t recruit me; Mike Stock had recruited me and had left for the NFL. I don’t think Coach Harris was thrilled with us. Bob Hoying graduated in 1996, and Coach Harris called a meeting of the quarterbacks; I was there with Tom Hoying and Joe Germaine. I had expectations that it was my job, as I backed up Bob Hoying for the last two years. I can remember the meeting just like it was yesterday. He looked at us, square in the eye, and told us that none of you are good enough to play quarterback at a prime time program like Ohio State, we’re not satisfied with where you are, and we’re bringing in a JUCO transfer with Mark Garcia. Coach Harris stressed that it was going to be an open competition, and if one of you rises to the occasion, it will be your job, but that was a wake up call for me. So our relationship was rocky, but he was always honest. He knew quarterback play like nobody else, and if you go back and look at Bob Hoying’s numbers from 1994 to 1995, Bob transformed as a quarterback under Coach Harris. I would like to believe as I continued to buy into what Coach Harris was trying to teach that I had some good years. Not great years, because I split time, but I had good years.
CM: I am glad you brought up Mark Garcia. I was in Ohio Stadium for the 1996 Ohio State spring game, anticipating to watch a battle between you and Mark Garcia. By the end of that spring game, what was a two man race had become a three man race, with Joe Germaine emerging. What were your thoughts heading into the summer of 1996?
SJ: It began to materialize in the spring, because Joe had a pretty good spring. It was almost impossible to get three guys equal reps. Even though Joe had an outside shot, it was still kind of difficult to get Joe reps until Mark Garcia tore his meniscus in fall camp. That created an opportunity for Joe to show them a lot more. Joe was probably the most accurate quarterback to ever play at Ohio State. It was just two entirely different guys playing the position for them, and the reality is if you go back and just went with one of us, you probably would have had a guy who could have set records. When Joe played quarterback by himself as a senior, Joe set a lot of records at Ohio State. I felt the same way about myself. It was tough for them at times. I am not a big fan of platooning quarterbacks; I believe it catches up with you eventually. I think it caught up with us against Michigan. I think you wind up with a quarterback who is not prepared to play a full game. A lot of fun times, great memories, but if I could go back and do a few things differently earlier in my career, maybe I never would have split time. There was a lot of maturing I needed to do, a lot of growing pains that I experienced that impacted how much I played at Ohio State.